Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Hillsborough teacher accused of abusing autistic student

TAMPA — A temporary teacher at Seminole Heights Elementary School was charged Wednesday with child abuse for grinding a shoe into an autistic child's face, police said.

Esraa Mohamed Soliman, 37, grabbed the autistic 5-year-old by his backpack straps and dragged him to his seat when he wouldn't listen to her on Tuesday, according to police. The child then threw a shoe at Soliman and she retaliated by grinding the shoe in the child's face, police said.

This semester was Soliman's first with the Hillsborough County School District, school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. She is certified to teach early childhood education and had been assigned to a exceptional education class for students with disabilities, Cobbe said.

Two adults saw the incident and reported it. Soliman was removed from the classroom Tuesday, Cobbe said.

The incident happened at 2:01 p.m. Tuesday. The teacher was arrested at her home in Tampa Wednesday morning. Soliman posted $2,000 bail on the felony charge and was released the same day.

Because Soliman is a temporary teacher, she does not have the same rights to due process as permanent employees, Cobbe said. She was already sent a letter instructing her not to return to Seminole Heights Elementary and to make an appointment for a professional standards review.

Before joining the Hillsborough schools, Soliman taught at Universal Academy of Florida on E Orient Road, Cobbe said.

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